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Keywords:

  • Rio Grande;
  • decision support systems;
  • planning;
  • geographic information system;
  • water resources management

Abstract

This article describes the collaborative modeling process and the resulting water resources planning model developed to evaluate water management scenarios in the transboundary Rio Grande basin. The Rio Grande is a severely water stressed basin that faces numerous management challenges as it crosses numerous jurisdictional boundaries. A collaborative process was undertaken to identify and model water management scenarios to improve water supply for stakeholders, the environment, and international obligations of water delivery from Mexico to the United States. A transparent and open process of data collection, model building, and scenario development was completed by a project steering committee composed of university, nongovernmental, and governmental experts from both countries. The outcome of the process was a planning model described in this article, with data and operations that were agreed on by water planning officials in each country. Water management scenarios were created from stakeholder input and were modeled and evaluated for effectiveness with the planning model.